WPR News
7:41 am
Fri October 3, 2008

ACLU blasts Forest Service over Rainbow gathering

Cheyenne, Wyo. – A report by the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union contends that the U.S. Forest Service systematically harasses people who attend Rainbow Family gatherings on public lands.

The ACLU opened an investigation after a clash this summer between Rainbow Family members and Forest Service officers at the group's annual gathering held in western Wyoming.

John Twiss, national head of law enforcement for the Forest Service, says the agency hasn't harassed the group.

Rainbow Family members say federal law enforcement officers fired "pepper balls" - similar to paint balls but containing a pepper substance - at a crowd without justification.

Federal officials say they fired after a crowd confronted officers and threw sticks and stones as they were arresting a man on a drug charge.